Keep Yourself Properly Busy

productivity Sep 20, 2023
Keep Yourself Properly Busy

Did you know that it's possible to waste your time in a productive manner? As weird as it may sound, this happens quite often and has happened to everybody at least once in their lives. Doing productive things that you don't really want to do is just another way of wasting time. As a man, it's vitally important that you keep yourself properly busy.

It isn't enough to just do something productive or beneficial for your future just because it's productive or beneficial. This leads to dead-end jobs and a life of regret.

Instead, you should be doing things that you actually want to do. In other words, do activities that interest and benefit you.

Luckily, this is very easy to do. Here are 3 tips to keep yourself properly busy.

1. Is there an immediate benefit?

Our modern age has put a ton of emphasis on immediate results. Whether this be for work or pleasure, we want things ASAP. While it is healthy to delay gratification, there is a certain amount of instant gratification that is beneficial for our health and well-being.

We can't delay everything, and we can't delay forever. If you do one or both of these, you will very quickly encounter what is commonly known as burnout.

As much as you should be doing activities that carry benefits for your future, the main point of delayed gratification is that you are creating gains in your future with a small sacrifice now.

If you have nothing to gain in the immediate moment, it can be close to impossible to remain motivated to do more. For this reason, it is important that you are doing something you actually want to do. 

When you are doing something you want to do, there is satisfaction in making progress, even if it's not a lot. The tired fulfillment after lifting weights or the rush you feel after doing something scary are other examples of instant benefits.

I remember the first time I took it upon myself to lift weights. I didn't make any progress for a few weeks, but the rush of satisfaction I would feel from just moving my body was enough to keep me moving.

When it comes to activities that keep you properly busy, it is important that there is some sort of "instant" benefit. These will mostly come in the form of feelings of satisfaction or exhilaration.

2. Do you actually want the future benefits?

We are made to do a lot of beneficial things when we are young. The stereotypical example of the Asian kid who plays piano is an example of this. However, when we are young we never question whether we actually want those benefits. When we're kids, we never question whether we want to play the piano or not, or another instrument altogether.

Now that you have the ability to actually choose for yourself, it's time to really dig deep. 

Think of a handful of activities that you've always wanted to do. Now, list out the long-term benefits you would gain from these activities.

Based on your answers, do you actually want those benefits? Chances are you're not sure or you don't want them.

It is important for any activity you pick up to keep yourself properly busy that you are actually invested in the long-term benefit you will gain. It won't do you any good if you're doing it just for the sake of doing it.

Before I picked up weightlifting for real, I had no motivation to do it. I had no desire to stay physically fit because I had no reason to.

However, due to excessive boredom, I decided to use weightlifting to keep myself busy. As I did it more and more, my reason to keep going shifted from something to keep me busy to something I could be proud of.

All it took was one morning of me looking at my forearms in the mirror to know that I wanted to continue down this path.

Knowing whether or not you want the long-term benefit of your activity will ultimately come down to the benefit you perceive yourself to be receiving from it. If you perceive the wrong benefit, it may throw you off entirely.

3. Are you properly balancing out the difficulty?

We all know that if something is too hard to do, we will get stuck or rise to the challenge. Most often we get the former instead of the ladder. Personally, I believe that relying upon your ability to rise to the challenge is a waste of time, as you should be saving that energy for when life throws challenges at you instead of when you throw them at yourself.

There are many ways to ensure that a task isn't too difficult, yet so many people don't make use of the easy ones, if any. Most people these days are seemingly gluttons for punishment.

If you are to keep yourself properly busy, you must be able to keep yourself motivated to do your task. If your task is too difficult for you to do, then chances are you will eventually stop.

On one end of the scale, you can do too much and overwhelm yourself with numbers. On the other end, you can do something too hard and overwhelm yourself with an insurmountable challenge.

To properly tune difficulty, you must keep the task just above your skill threshold and no higher.

The easiest way to do this in weightlifting is with something called progressive overload. And I messed it up when I first did it.

All I had to do was add a little more weight to my lifts, when instead I added too much and ended up making myself more sore than anything.

I ended up having to skip a few workouts just because I couldn't manage to lift without feeling a lot of pain. 

After that blunder, I learned how to progressively overload properly with more than just weight. The results since then have been amazing, and I've never run out of motivation to keep going even though I've had off days.

When doing your activities to keep yourself busy, it's most important that you aren't overloading yourself. Otherwise, you'll scare yourself off.

Doing proper work is fun?!

I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed doing these proper tasks that I would have otherwise considered to be school-type activities.

Since I've learned how to pace myself properly, I've picked up so many other things to do like learning languages and instruments, cooking, proper grooming, and nutrition. I've never been happier in my life.

All this progress in these areas came because I put in the work, but even more than that they came because I properly prioritized and properly paced myself. As long as you can do those two things you'll have no trouble keeping yourself properly busy.

- Karl